Asbestos Siding

I have a simple question. I am looking at a house to buy that has asbestos siding. The paint is chipping off the siding on the back of the house. Should I avoid purchasing this house or should I go ahead and scrape the paint, prime and repaint the house. Any advice would be much appreciated. I would like to avoid a costly mistake.

You should probably handle the paint as if were LBP (go to for LBP handling instructions) and do the work IAW with those guidelines. Do not disturb the siding or remove it yourself. Do not sand or grind the siding…the EPA website also has asbestos handling information.


The easiest and cheapest way to deal with asbestos siding and/or lead paint is to put new siding overtop of it. This will encapsulate the issue w/out needing men in spacesuits. It’s important to do it by the book as Keith said as fines and liabilities will quickly trump the costs of the men in spacesuits that would be required.

Have the rules changed? Asbestos siding and roofing used to be considered low level risk because it wasn’t friable. It isn’t powder based and doesn’t get airborne like the pipe wrap. You can crack it with no dust. We removed a asbestos slate roof ourselves about 6 or 7 years ago, and sent the refuse to the landfill in a dumpster. Requirements were non existant if work was done by owner. If a roofing company had done it they would have had to wrap the dumpster and sent it to a low level toxic dump. No spacesuits were needed for either crew. We did use dust mask but it was our choice.

Asbestos siding is very good siding when you left undisturbed. When you start ripping it off it releases airborne fibers that are dangerous to breathe in. I’m no expert on asbestos remediation so I have no idea of what’s involved in the disposal and I believe it varies from state to state.

Keep in mind that buyers don’t like to hear the words asbestos, lead, or mold.

Asbestos removal is a Federal program…as I said, go to for more info.


there are different ways and standards of asbestos removal for every state and country… never do it alone and without proper safety gears. Ask professionals on how to deal and treat it to prevent any accidents :smiley:

I personally like asbestos siding. If it’s mostly good, paint it.
If its mostly bad, put vinyl over it.

There are many, many homes that still have that old asbestos siding…I personally wouldn’t avoid considering a purchase of a home with it (as long as the home looks like a good investment otherwise). As for scraping it…I wouldn’t do that. The general rule of thumb with asbestos is, don’t mess with it. By scraping it, you could knock loose the asbestos particulate and that is where the real hazard lies. If you want to just paint over it (without scraping it), that shouldn’t cause a problem. Otherwise, your best bet would be to inquire as to how much it would cost to have the appropriate professional remove it properly (read: safely) and perhaps use that figure to negotiate a lower purchase price with the seller.

I recently rehabbed a property that had asbestos tile siding. I had the siding removed and replaced with vinyl for 2 reasons: 1) I don’t want ANY issues regarding asbestos whenever I decide to sell (currently holding as a long term rental) 2) Much of the wood sheathing under the siding had been damaged by termites and/or water and needed to be replaced.

The siding contractor I hired brought in a small dumpster specifically for the siding and it was disposed of at the county landfill. There was no appreciable extra costs due to the asbestos … and this is in NJ where the government is in your shorts about nearly everything.